The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa has an epic culinary experience called Jalisco at Your Table, a seven-course tasting menu of regional delicacies with a modern twist. Of course, slow-cooked short rib birria tacos are the star. (Read on for their Jalisco-style birria recipe, which makes eight generous servings.)
Feel free to put your own spin on the recipe too. “Some use beer or pulque [an alcoholic drink made from maguey] instead of vinegar. Some use cane, pineapple or apple vinegar. Each of these ingredients bring a particular flavor to birria,” says Martinez. The most important ingredient, though, is the chiles.
If you can't find the specific peppers that the recipe calls for, Martinez encourages you to experiment and substitute with ones you can find. “I wouldn't dare to give my opinion without first having experimented with other chile peppers, since each has a different flavor that could certainly change the taste of birria,” he explains. “But at no time do I close myself to the possibility of [substituting], because it's through experimentation that more recipes that come to enrich our gastronomy arise.”
For the birria:
- 5 guajillo chiles
- 5 ancho chiles
- 6 cascabel chiles
- 2 morita chiles
- 30 milliliters (about 1 ounce) of oil
- Water, as needed
- 10 whole allspice berries
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 7 garlic cloves, roasted
- 1 diced onion, roasted
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick (about 5 centimeters long)
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) boneless beef shank
- 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) beef short rib
- Chopped cilantro, onion, oregano, lime and corn tortillas, to serve
For the consommé:
- 8 tomatoes, roasted and peeled
- 5 cups birria broth
- 4 cups water
- Ground marjoram, to taste
Step 1: Remove the veins and seeds from the guajillo, ancho and cascabel chiles (the morita chiles don’t need them removed). In a hot frying pan, brown the morita chiles in cooking oil, stirring them with a spoon until they get puffy. Add the other chiles and continue stirring until they brown (be sure not to burn them, since they could make the whole dish bitter).
Step 2: Once the chiles have browned, add a cup and a half of water to the pan and let them simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Blend the allspice, cloves, cumin, marjoram, thyme, ground ginger, garlic, onion, bay leaves and cinnamon in a blender or food processor, then add the salt and apple cider vinegar. Once combined, add the chiles, the water in which the chiles were cooked and two more cups of water and blend thoroughly (it’ll take a few batches, depending on the size of your blender). Then, pour the marinade through a strainer and reserve.
Step 4: Season the meat with salt, place it in a large stew pot, pour in the marinade and let the meat marinate for 4 hours in the refrigerator. Then, remove the pot from the fridge and bring it to a boil over medium heat until the meat is very soft, about 1½ to 2 hours. Shred and reserve the meat.
Step 5: To make the consommé, blend the roasted tomatoes with 1 cup of birria broth. Place the blended mixture in a pot, then add 1 more liter (or about 4 cups) of birria broth and 1 liter of water with a little ground marjoram. Add salt to taste and boil for 30 minutes over high heat.
Step 6: Serve the consommé and the meat together with chopped cilantro, chopped onion, oregano, lime and corn tortillas as desired.